Saina Nehwal ended her campaign at the ongoing Asian Games with a bronze for India in women’s singles after losing to world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 21-14 in the semi-finals on Monday. But despite the loss, Saina had created history for Indian badminton.
Tzu Ying began well, racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening game. Saina changed her strategy to level the game at 8-8. But constant smashes by the Chinese Taipei shuttler on Saina’s backhand gave her mid-game interval lead by a point.
Tzu Ying then took four straight points to take a good lead and win the game. The loss continues Nehwal’s dismal run against the World No 1 who has beaten Saina 10 straight times now.
What makes Saina’s medal historic is the fact that no female Indian shuttler had won a medal at the Asian Games 2018 prior to this edition. PV Sindhu, who has also made it to the semi-finals, has also assured India of another medal.
Chinese Taipei’s top seed accelerated in the last few minutes to snuff out the Indian’s chances soon after she had taken a slender lead.
India also won a medal at the Asian Games in badminton’s individual event after 36 years. In 1982, it was the legendary Syed Modi won returned with a medal from Asiad. In total, India has won eight medals in badminton in Asian Games 2018 out of which six came in team events.